Film Courage: Pamela, with romantic comedies, is falling in love really supposed to be funny?
Pamela Jaye Smith: [Laughs] Well falling in love is seldom funny. Now it’s hopefully fun. But I think what romantic comedies and the funny look at the situations can do for us, it can make it easier for us to take a look at what happens and how frightened we sometimes get as the changes that are happening when we start falling in love and the resistance that comes from within and often from without, you know from friends and family who say “What are you doing with that person?” And maybe society’s strictures against who you’re falling in love with. So to take a comedic look at some of those situations can be helpful, because then you can go “Okay…other people have faced this kind of situation. Here are some solutions. Maybe we can work that out, too.”
Film Courage: I know in looking at your book Romantic Comedies, you use a case studies of MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING and it sounds like we’re referring to a lot of the similar [ideas], where the family was so strong, that they only wanted…they were very possessive and also too they had [the main character – Toula Portokalos played by Nia Vardalos] as this one type of person and kind of gave her the impression she couldn’t have another type of [mate]. That was the beauty of the film. Two opposites came together.
Pamela Jaye Smith: Yes. It’s a very good example of that. And I also think it’s a good example of when people say ‘Falling in Love,’ note the word falling. Okay? You’re going from one position as the daughter who always does it this way, as the member of the family who this is the way we always do it. You’re falling into a different realm. And I’ve often wondered why we don’t like slide into love, Okay? It’s not a horizontal movement or why we don’t rise into love but of course if it’s well done, you do rise up, you do have that uplifting of your spirit. But falling in love? You’re falling off that level where you’ve been. You’re going into a different realm. It’s a different world and so I think the beauty of romantic comedies is that you make it a little bit more palatable to take a look at the things that happen to us.
“…It’s a very good example of that. And I also think it’s a good example of when people say ‘Falling in Love,’ note the word falling. Okay? You’re going from one position as the daughter who always does it this way, as the member of the family who this is the way we always do it. You’re falling into a different realm.”
Film Courage: Now why do people love romantic comedies? And I realize not everybody does, but we all have a soft spot for at least one.
Pamela Jaye Smith: That’s true. We all have a soft spot for at least one. I will admit that when the publishers came and we were talking about a new book, Ken Lee said “Oh, there’s this study that has been done and we think that maybe it would make a good book.” [And I said] “What was it?” [Ken replied] “Couples who watch romantic comedies together versus the other group of couples who went to couples therapy.” And an amazing thing happened, the stay-together rate was higher for those who watched comedies together and talked about them, then it was for those who went to couples therapy. Now, I still think couples therapy is a good idea. But until you get to that point, romantic comedies! Now you say “Well, does everybody like romantic comedies?” Frankly, I didn’t that much. When Ken Lee and I were talking about this and he said “Well, we think you would be a good person to write this book.” And I said “Uh…you know I do mythology and military stuff right and adventure?” And he said “No…no…you’ll do a good job with it.” Well thanks to him and Michael Wiese (of Michael Wiese productions) it was a group effort on constructing how the chapters would be laid out and how we would approach each film. So me, a person who was not that much of a rom-com fan, I actually became one through the process of writing this book.
Question for the Viewers: What is your favorite romantic comedy?
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MORE VIDEOS WITH PAMELA JAYE SMITH
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From The Film Fund – Get up to $10,000 to make your short film by writing one sentence. The Film Fund is providing funding up to $10,000 for a short film in a way that’s a lot simpler than screenwriting contests, crowdfunding, or applying to grants – read more about Founder and CEO Thomas Verdi’s The Film Fund here via his website.
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